THE PROGRESS OF PAEDIATRIC PALLIATIVE CARE

Guest Blog by Sister Frances Dominica

The greatest tragedy any family can face is the death of a beloved child. It can and does happen in every part of the world, it always has and always will. The way in which society copes with such an event varies from culture to culture. Families have often felt alone in this tragedy, whether in the setting of a state of the art intensive care unit or on a pavement in a slum city.

THE PROGRESS OF PAEDIATRIC PALLIATIVE CARE, ITS OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

The development of paediatric palliative care and its gradual spread across all continents seeks to address that experience of isolation. Along with significant progress in symptom control, there is the recognition that, although we may not be able to halt the progress of the child’s condition and death may be the inevitable outcome, there is still something we can do. We may not claim to have answers to the big questions about why such a thing should happen but we can do our utmost to encourage and enable such children to live fully until they die, free of pain and surrounded by the people they love and trust most.

We should never forget that the family knows their child better than anyone and a central part of paediatric palliative care is supporting the family, often without words, “walking the walk” with them in what may be a long, exhausting and heart-breaking journey, reassuring them that at the end of a very long dark tunnel there really is light.

Resources in many parts of the world may be scarce but there are often amazing people out there determined to make a difference.

Those of us who are privileged to work in this field are always on a steep learning curve. Our best teachers are the children and their families.

 

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